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License Requirements

  1. Complete Registration
    Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System Registry (NMLS).
  2. Obtain a Unique Identifier.
  3. Complete 20 hours of Pre-licensing Education.
  4. Pass State and National Examinations.
  5. Complete Criminal Background Check.
  6. Complete Credit Report Through NMLS.
  7. Apply for MLO License.


Every MLO, or person seeking MLO licensure, must begin with registration with the

Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System Registry (NMLS)
  1. Select “Log into NMLS”
  2. Select “Create an Individual Account”
  3. A confirmation message with your user name and ID will be displayed
  4. There is no cost to create an account
  5. You do not need to have completed your education, or licensing requirements to register

Who is required to have this license?

A person who for compensation or gain or in the expectation of compensation or gain does any of the following:

  • Takes a residential mortgage application.
  • Offers or negotiates terms of a residential mortgage loan.
  • On behalf of a borrower, negotiates with a lender or note holder to obtain a temporary or permanent modification in an existing residential mortgage loan agreement.
See A.R.S. Section 6-991

Unique Identifier

  1. A unique identification number is assigned to each individual
  2. Keep this number in a safe place
  3. You will need this number for all activity:
    • Course enrollment and credit for completion
    • Test enrollment
    • Background check
    • Credit report authorization
    • All filings


  1. All states require a minimum of 20 hours of pre-licensing education and 8 hours of continuing education annually
  2. Some states require addition hours of state specific pre-licensing education.
    View specific state requirements
  3. Arizona licensees are required to complete 4 hours hours of state specific pre-licensing education which is included in the full 20 hour program.

National Exam with Uniform State Content

  1. In order to do business anywhere you must pass a 125 question National Mortgage Loan Originator SAFE Act exam. Only 115 questions are scored. You are given 195 minutes to complete the exam. Your full appointment length is 225 minutes.
  2. National exam fee: $110.
  3. 75% or better is required to pass
  4. Failure to pass the exam requires you to wait 30 days and pay again to re-take the exam. After 3 failed attempts a 6 month waiting period is required to re-take the exam.
  5. Click here to download “3 Easy Steps to Create a SAFE MLO Test Enrollment and Schedule an Appointment”

Criminal Background Check

The Criminal Background Check Authorization Request is required for submission of the application form (Form MU4 for state licensing, Form MU4R for federal  registration). Either an individual mortgage loan originator (MLO) or their employer may create the CBC Authorization Request through NMLS.

Cost: Live Scan = $36.25 (CBC Processing Fee) OR

Paper Card Capture – $46.25 (CBC Processing fee & Card Packet Fee)

Once an individual or employer has paid for the CBC request through NMLS, the MLO will be able to schedule a fingerprint appointment.

NOTE: If you already have recent fingerprints in NMLS, you will not need to be reprinted. NMLS can use the existing fingerprints that are on file. The option to use existing prints will only be available if the fingerprint records on file are less than 3 years old. Due to FBI rules, individuals will need to provide new fingerprints when requesting a new Criminal Background Check if previously submitted fingerprints are more than 3 years old.

Arizona Department of Financial Institution requires a criminal history check. Applicants may not have been convicted of a felony during the 7 year period immediately proceeding the date of the application of any crime, breach of trust, dishonesty, fraud or laundering.

NOTE: After authorizing a new Criminal Background Check and selecting to submit new fingerprints, fingerprints must be taken within 180 days. If fingerprints are not submitted within 180 days, the background check window will expire and a new Criminal Background Check will need to be authorized and paid for.

View all background requirements

Credit Report

  • Every state-licensed mortgage loan originator is required to complete the credit report authorization process through NMLS, even if credit information was  previously received by their state regulator(s). Individual control persons for state-licensed companies that complete an MU2 Form may be required by their state  agency to authorize a credit report through NMLS. Federally registered MLOs are not required to authorize a credit report.
  • Cost: $15

Surety Bond/ Recovery Fund

  • Required through AZDFI
  • Every mortgage loan originator must be covered under a surety bond or recovery fund. Satisfaction of this requirement can be met by one of the following:

(a) Mortgage loan originator to pay $100.00 into the recovery fund at time of application.

(b) Employer may provide evidence of a surety bond that meets Arizona  requirements in amount of not less than $200,000.00. This is in addition to the bond that the employer is required to have for its mortgage broker or mortgage banker license.


Cost for application with AZDFI is $350 and is NON-REFUNDABLE. If you decide to pay into the recovery fund, it will be an additional $100.

Please note that for any additional questions regarding state specific licensing and testing contact the state regulatory agency or NMLS at 1-240-386-4444. For questions specific to Arizona licensing contact the Arizona Division Of Financial Institutions at 602-771-2800.

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